Here we are on the final day of the year two-thousand and twelve and we have three more America East moments to rehash before the clock strikes midnight. So before you put on your party hats and prepare to bring in the new year, we hope you can take a few minutes to recognize three more moments that highlight the incredible things our student-athletes accomplished this year. Here's to 2013, everyone.
No. 3: Record Number of Basketball Teams Make the Postseason
While the women broke a record, the men tied a record for the third time in the league's history. Three America East squads made it to a set of brackets, including conference champion Vermont in the NCAA Tournament. Stony Brook earned a spot in the NIT for the second time in three seasons and Albany took part in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). The Catamounts, with the recently expanded tournament, played Lamar in the first round for the right to advance and play No. 1 North Carolina. With 12 rebounds and seven assists from Brian Voelkel, Vermont topped Lamar 71-59 for the program's second NCAA Tournament win ever. While they would fall to the Tar Heels in the next round, the Catamounts joined Northeastern as the only other school with multiple tournament wins. Stony Brook and Albany would both play hard fought games -- the Seawolves took NIT No. 1 Seton Hall to the brink, losing 63-61 -- neither advanced past the first round. But America East basketball showed its prominence to the nation.
No. 2: Lucy Van Dalen's Magical Year
Lucy Van Dalen's name is all over the America East track and field record books. In fact, both Lucy and her sister Holly left quite the mark on the conference. But in 2012, Van Dalen accomplished things that few can ever claim. On March 11 at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Stony Brook senior ran a 4:39.76 to claim the National Championship in the mile run. Van Dalen became the first America East national champion since Binghamton's Rory Quiller won the pole vault at the indoor championships in 2008. She is also one of two America East female runners to win the national championship in the mile run, joining Boston U.'s Jennifer Lanctot.
But Van Dalen wasn't done there. Representing her native New Zealand, the national champion took her talents to the 2012 London Olympics to compete in the 1,500 meter run. After qualifying for the semifinals, Van Dalen ran a 4:06.97 in an attempt to qualify for the finals. Though she came up short, Van Dalen had improved her time from the qualifying rounds. Just think for a second about what she was able to accomplish (the Olympics!) and there's no way to be anything but floored with how incredible 2012 was for Van Dalen.
No. 1: Stony Brook Baseball Reaches the College World Series
College baseball is an interesting thing. Like professional baseball, many times, the nation's top seeds do not win the title. This opens up the gates for stories like Fresno St. in 2008. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 in their opening regional, went all the way to Omaha and won the College World Series. This spring, Stony Brook put on the Cinderella slippers and made its own visit to Omaha.
While a trip to Coral Gables was certainly daunting, a trip to Baton Rouge is perhaps even more illustrious. The Louisiana State University Tigers are the owners of six national championships, they have made the College World Series 15 times and the fans are loud and rabid. This didn't stop Stony Brook from beating the Tigers in three games, however. Game One was incredible: a 12 inning affair that saw multiple game tying home runs. The game actually had to be delayed in the 11th and picked up again in the morning, when the Seawolves finally lost. But Coach Matt Senk and his squad did not back down an inch, and beat the Tigers in back-to-back games to punch a ticket to Omaha. It was an incredible accomplishment, as Stony Brook joined Fresno St. as the only teams to advance to the CWS as a No. 4 seed. The Seawolves would go 0-2 in Omaha, but their run was one of the best in the sport's history and they earned well-deserved attention all over the sports world. Without a doubt, it was one of the most memorable moments ever for both Stony Brook and the America East.
Stony Brook women's basketball is off to its best start (8-5) since the 2005-2006 season.
Check out the recap from the Boston U. women winning the Christmas City Classic title.
Maine's Justin Edwards was key in Maine's win over Quinnipiac, just as he has been all season.
Though Binghamton came up just short in a comeback versus Cornell, Coach Dempsey saw some good things.